About a year ago Braydon and I started purposely blocking off a whole Saturday or Sunday on our calendars, every 6 weeks or so, to do absolutely nothing but chill out at home with our little family foursome. This summer we made a decision to expand on this by blocking off a whole weekend about every six weeks. We call these "Family Weekends." For us it is a way to re-charge, re-group, re-bond, rejuvenate. For us -- all four of us -- it really seems to work. We have found that it works best if we actually go away (preferably overnight). But we can make do at home too. Requirements of our Family Weekends are as follows:
- No real cooking. We go out to eat, order take-out, or eat simple/easy-to-prepare foods... all weekend long.
- No real chores. No housework or yard work. No "projects." No To-Do lists.
- No work. Period.
- No childcare (no babysitter).
- No social engagements whatsoever. I.e., no plans with friends, no play-dates, no get-togethers, no birthday parties, no social events. Just the four of us.
This past weekend was a Family Weekend. We decided to stay put at home. It was good. Highlights were
- The boys got new bikes! Their first real bikes (with training wheels)! This had been long-anticipated. We had told them we'd get them bicycles when the swimming pool closed. Braydon did tons of research and got his boys the best dang bikes around. ;0 He had brought the boys to the bike store twice to look at their new bikes, get sized for helmets, etc. K & O were very excited. Saturday morning, after we went out for breakfast (Owen had a Belgian waffle; Kyle had a corn muffin; Braydon and I had omelettes), we went straight to the bike store. Kyle's bike is red. Owen's is blue. Happy Happy Boys Boys. FOR PHOTOS CLICK HERE
- It was hot and humid here this weekend. Saturday afternoon involved ice cream (Kyle still continues to almost exclusively choose milkshakes?!!?!; Owen is finally experimenting with fun-and-exciting [and drippy] ice cream cones... preferably with jimmies!), and then... FOUNTAINS. for photos click here
- Sunday was our Third Annual Fall Traugers Farm Trip. Traugers Farm sells their produce, etc. year-round, and we regularly frequent this farm store. But Traugers Farm in October is a whole other thing. They have horse-drawn hay-rides, their own farm-pressed cider and farm-grown popcorn, tons of pumpkins, and little corn maze made just for little-little kids (they plant the corn very late in the season so the stalks are only about 4-5 feet high). As I'm sure you can imagine, K & O love the whole entire experience. FOR PHOTOS CLICK HERE.
We never left a 10-mile radius of our house, but it was a great Family Weekend nonetheless. See photos below (as always, you can click on any photo to expand).
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The highlight of the weekend, for Braydon and I, was toward the end of our Traugers Farm visit. The boys were calming down a bit from all the excitement and were drinking lemonades. Kyle was wandering around checking out the mums and gourdes. Owen spotted The Farmer (like the head honcho, owner/manager/boss man of this very large operating farm) sitting alone at a large picnic table taking a break and quietly watching the locals and tourists alike swarming his farm. The boys and I had met this man once before -- this summer. It was a hot summer day and we had stopped at Traugers to buy corn. We were the only ones there. The Farmer was teaching a young man how to use the pea-shucking machine. He was clearly busy, but he invited Kyle and Owen to come over and watch. And as they watched he took handfuls of freshly shucked peas and gave them to K & O to eat. The boys loved the peas, of course, and the boys were enamored with The Farmer, of course. The Farmer seems subtly taken with K & O--- a quiet, reserved man of few words... but he ended up giving me my dozen ears of corn for free and telling me to "bring the boys back to see him soon." We've been back before but haven't seen The Farmer again, until Sunday. So... toward the end our Traugers Trip Owen spots him at a large picnic table. Owen proceeded to quietly and calmly make his way to the table, and sit down with The Farmer. The two of them sat there together, taking it all in, just a few quiet words exchanged between them every now and then, for a good 10-15 minutes (a very long time for Owen to sit so still). Eventually Owen was off and running again. The Farmer asked us about the boys -- where they were from, etc. We chatted for a bit. Then it was time to go. Completely unprompted, Kyle ran to The Farmer, climbed up in his lap, and gave him a huge hug and kiss. The Farmer took it in stride, hugging Kyle back. Then he gave Owen a big high five and an even bigger smile. As we were about to leave, The Farmer told Braydon and I that when the boys are old enough he'd like for them to come work on his farm with him. He was entirely serious. He was smitten with them. And the boys with him. It was one of the sweet, sweet moments of this Family Weekend.